Part coming-of-age story and part how-to manual, the book is, above all, one of the most down-to-earth and least self-aggrandizing works of self-reflection you could hope to read. Evaristo’s guilelessness is refreshing, even unsettling ... With ribald humour and admirable candour, Evaristo takes us on a tour of her sexual history ... Characterized by the resilience of its author, it is replete with stories about the communities and connections Evaristo has cultivated over forty years ... Invigoratingly disruptive as an artist, Evaristo is a bridge-builder as a human being.
Throughout, the book deftly combines the personal and the political ... Intersectionality runs through this book like a quiet but mighty river. I particularly enjoyed the stories about the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, including the underground queer subculture. These are all influences that have shaped the course of Evaristo’s life and the depth of her literary vision ... Diversity is treasured in this book but there is an equal emphasis on equality and inclusion...She does not shy away from difficult debates on who has the right to tell which story ... a beautiful, thoughtful and honest book about never giving up, even when it feels like you are 'writing into a void'. It is also a meditation on personal transformation, cultural inequalities, activism, belonging, love and friendships – and above all, the power of creativity.
Manifesto, which could otherwise be called Portrait of the Artist as a Young Black Woman, is a much needed accounting of a Black woman's coming of age through the journey of creating a profoundly authentic creative life ... Manifesto resonates with tenderly drawn stories of Evaristo's family history — beginning with mourning the grandmother whom she never met and trying to find a connection to her Nigerian family, a familiar story of Africans caught in the rapacious capitalistic project of European colonization ... This personal reflection allows Evaristo to delve into an incisive analysis of class and race in the United Kingdom ... What sustains Evaristo throughout is this: a dedication to the craft of writing and an astute awareness of the importance of community. Evaristo understood that for Black artists, whose art was shut of the mainstream conversation, the creation of art also necessitated the creation of community ... Manifesto revels in the stories behind Evaristo's writing — the formation of each book as well as the formation of the artist engaged in the act of creation. Here, one of the foremost writers of the age unwinds her career and life. In doing so, she has given us a nonfiction bildungsroman that is a towering monument to the creative life of Black women.